The artistic leadership of a major performing company is, by definition, important. The Australian Ballet has a forthcoming vacancy of Artistic Director, a vacancy brought about by the planned retirement of David McAllister who has been in that position for nigh on 20 years. McAllister’s tenure has been a remarkable success; the company is at a high point of its national and international reputation. It plays to virtually capacity audiences around the country, its repertoire is judiciously varied. The company morale is clearly at a high level; the atmosphere at any performance is cheerfully energising. David McAllister is deserving of our heartfelt gratitude and praise. What a happy situation for his fortunate successor. That person is David Hallberg.
Hallberg is no stranger to the company. It is a renewing tactic to appoint an outsider; but even better, Hallberg is an ‘inside outsider’. He is currently the company’s Resident Guest Artist and a regular visitor for the last ten years. His is a truly remarkable career. Born in South Dakota, he trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School, joining American Ballet Theatre in 2001, appointed Principal Dancer in 2006. Making history, he was the first American to join the Bolshoi Ballet; he is Principal Guest Artist with the Royal Ballet. A published author, he chose to spend a recent 14-month ‘residency’ here during injury rehabilitation. Hallberg knows what he is taking on; he understands the cultural terrain. Congratulations to both Davids.
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